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“When we pull up to the fire at one of these tenements, we size up the building visually,” said Tom Colleti of Engine Company 45, at Forty-Sixth and Cottage Grove, one of the busiest fire houses in the city. “The flames are running wild, the rats are fleeing the building, and we’re about to go in. We try to assess how the place is put together. And that’s hard to do because these buildings have been chopped apart. They were built for, let’s say 10 residences, and now there’s probably anywhere from 100 to 150 people living there, with plywood walls and jerry-rigged wiring.”
— Shaping the Story, chapter 2